Scholarly Editing

The Annual of the Association for Documentary Editing

2012, Volume 33

Selection from Uncle Tom’s Cabin: A Digital Critical Edition: “Topsy”: National Era, November 6, 1851

by Harriet Beecher StoweEdited by Wesley Raabe and Les Harrison
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[column d] For the National Era.

[COPYRIGHT SECURED ACCORDING TO LAW.]

UNCLE TOM’S CABIN:

OR,
LIFE AMONG THE LOWLY.
——
BY MRS. H. B. STOWE.
——
X
CHAPTER XIX.Topsy. ¶ One morning,witness: National Era
CHAPTER XX.TOPSY. ¶ ONE morning,witness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
CHAPTER XX.TOPSY. ¶ OONE morning,witness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
CHAPTER XX.TOPSY. ¶ ONE morning, witness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
CHAPTER XX.TOPSY. ¶ ONE morning,witness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

Chapter Numbering
The National Era installment of the “Topsy” chapter appeared on 6 November 1851. The chapter is numbered XIX in the serial. The number XIX continues the chapter-number sequence in the serial, but the previous installment, 23 October, had an error in the sequence. Note that the previous week, 30 October, is one in which no installment from Uncle Tom’s Cabin is published in the Era.
On 23 October, the installment was labeled “CHAPTER XVIII—Continued.” A week earlier, 16 October, the serial installment had the same label, “CHAPTER XVIII—Continued.” But the 16 October installment also included a chapter break that is labeled “CHAPTER XIX.—St. Clare’s History and Opinions,” a chapter division that is unique to the Era version of the text.
We infer that the 23 October chapter was numbered “18” because a newspaper compositor failed to notice the mid-column introduction of the new chapter named after St. Clare on 16 October. Therefore, though the chapter number XIX for the Topsy chapter continues the error from the previous installment, it continues the number sequence that began with Chapter XVIII on 23 October and continued for the remainder of the serial run.
The error in number sequence is scarcely noticeable in the serial. When the Jewett text was set into book form, Stowe or her publisher may have decided to correct the error in the serial sequence by creating new chapter divisions, especially as the two chapters labeled as Miss Ophelia’s opinions (XVIII and XIX) close the first volume and open the second volume of the Jewett first edition (1852). The title of the previous chapter in the serial, “St. Clare’s History and Opinions” is a more apt description of the chapter’s content. Though Miss Ophelia’s experiences are significant in the first of these two companion chapters, St. Clare’s opinions dominate the second. That chapter titles were not a significant concern in the Era is illustrated by the long series of untitled chapters between “Henrique” (20 Nov. 1851) and “The Martyr” (11 Mar. 1852). All later reprints follow the Jewett edition chapter numbers and divisions.
One morning, while Miss Ophelia was busy
in some of her domestic cares, St. Clare’s voice
was heard, calling her at the foot of the stairs.
“Come down here,
X
down here, Cousin, I’ve somethingwitness: National Era
down here, Cousin; I’ve somethingwitness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
down here, cousin; I’ve somethingwitness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
down here, cousin; I’ve somethingwitness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
down here, cousin; I’ve somethingwitness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

The word “Cousin,” when capitalized, suggests a formal title. Because “Cousin” is not a formal title, the reader infers that the use of capitalization highlights the teasing quality of Augustine St. Clare’s banter with Miss Ophelia. In the National Era, St. Clare only uses the upper-case form once in this chapter, when he first calls Miss Ophelia so that he can exhibit Topsy for her. In the two-volume Jewett edition (1852), St. Clare in this chapter uses the upper-case form “Cousin” whenever he addresses Miss Ophelia, which suggests that he continues to engage in teasing banter.
By contrast, in all subsequent editions, the Jewett “Million” (1852/53) and “Illustrated” (1853) and the Houghton Osgood “New Edition” (1879), St. Clare always addresses Miss Ophelia with the lower-case form “cousin.” If the text of the Era serial reflects the manuscript, Stowe intended originally to open the chapter with St. Clare’s teasing of Miss Ophelia and then to assume the generic lower-case form of address, which implies greater sincerity in his later address to her. Either Stowe or a Jewett compositor chose to capitalize all instances of “Cousin” in the Jewett first edition. When the word is not capitalized, it tones down the satiric quality and instead emphasizes St. Clare’s genuine insistence that Miss Ophelia’s criticism of slavery as a system is pointless if not backed up with action.
I’ve something
to show you.”
“What is it?” said Miss Ophelia, coming
down with her sewing in her hand.
“I’ve made a purchase for your department;
see here,” said St. Clare; and, with the word,
he pulled along a little negro girl, about eight
or nine years of age.
She was one of the blackest of her race, and
her round, shining eyes, glittering as glass
beads, moved with quick and restless glances
over everything in the room. Her mouth, half
open with astonishment at the wonders of the
new mass’r’s parlor, displayed a white and
brilliant set of teeth. Her woolly hair was
braided in sundry little tails, which stuck out
in every direction. The expression of her face
was an odd mixture of shrewdness and cun-
ning, over which was oddly drawn, like a kind
of veil, an expression of the most doleful gravi-
ty and solemnity. She was dressed in a single
filthy, ragged garment, made of bagging, and
stood with her hands demurely folded before
her. Altogether, there was something odd
and goblin-like about her appearance—some-
thing, as Miss Ophelia afterwards said, “so
heathenish,” as to inspire that good lady with
utter dismay; and turning to St. Clare, she
said—
“Augustine, what in the world have you
brought that thing here for?”
“For you to educate, to be sure, and train
in the way she should go. I thought she was
rather a funny specimen in the Jim Crow line.
Here, Topsy,” he added, giving a whistle, as a
man would, to call the attention of a dog,
“give us a song, now, and show us some of your
dancing.”
The black, glassy eyes glittered with a kind
of wicked drollery, and the thing struck up, in
a clear, shrill voice, an odd negro melody, to
which she kept time with her hands and feet,
spinning round, clapping her hands, knocking
her knees together, in a wild, fantastic sort of
time, and producing in her throat all those odd
guttural sounds which distinguish the native
music of her race; and finally, turning a sum-
merset or two, and giving a prolonged closing
note, as odd and unearthly as that of a steam
whistle, she came suddenly down on the carpet,
and stood with her hands folded, and a most
sanctimonious expression of meekness and so-
lemnity over her face, only broken by the cun-
ning glances which she shot askance from the
corners of her eyes.
Miss Ophelia stood silent, perfectly paralyzed
with amazement.
St. Clare, like a mischievous fellow as he was,
appeared to enjoy her astonishment, and ad-
dressing the child again, said:
“Topsy, this is your new mistress.
X
new mistress. I’m going towitness: National Era
new mistress. I’m going towitness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
new mistress. I am going towitness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
new mistress. I’m going towitness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
new mistress. I’m going towitness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

The phrase “I am” in the Jewett “Million” edition (1852/53) is presumably an inadvertent compositorial expansion of Stowe’s preferred contraction.

going to give you up to her; see now that you
behave yourself.”
“Yes,
X
yourself.” ¶ “Yes, mass’r,” said Topsywitness: National Era
yourself.” ¶ “Yes, Mas’r,” said Topsy,witness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
yourself.” ¶ “Yes, Mas’r,” said Topsy,witness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
yourself.” ¶ “Yes, mas’r,” said Topsy,witness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
yourself.” ¶ “Yes, Mas’r,” said Topsy,witness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

In the National Era serial, the lower-case form “mass’r” predominates, which reflects the practice of lower-case “masser” in Stowe’s manuscript. The Jewett two-volume (1852) and “Million” editions (1852/53) use consistently the capitalized “Mas’r.” In the Jewett “Illustrated Edition” (1853), an uncapitalized form of the word appears, “mas’r.” The “Illustrated” edition retains the dialect apostrophe of the two-volume and the “Million” editions, but its form “mas’r,” like its form “missis,” may imply that the title of master within slavery is an unlawful convention that should not be honored with capitalization.
For the two-volume and “Million” editions, the printer George C. Rand or publisher Jewett may have imposed—and Stowe may have accepted—the conventional capitalization of this word form, perhaps so that the Jewett editions could appeal to a broader audience than the Era’s anti-slavery readers. Stowe presumably sought to return the Jewett “Illustrated Edition” word to a form closer to the manuscript and serial practice. If the more select audiences of the work in an anti-slavery newspaper and the “Illustrated” edition are expected to be more sympathetic to the anti-slavery cause, such readers may appreciate the subtle insinuation that linguistic conventions that are associated with courtesy support the perpetuation of slavery as an unlawful system. The Houghton Osgood “New Edition” (1879) follows the practice of the two-volume Jewett edition. Also see variant dialect forms of missis.
said Topsy with sanctimoni-
ous gravity, her wicked eyes twinkling as she
spoke.
“You’re going to be good, Topsy, you under-
stand,” said St. Clare.
X
St. Clare. ¶ “Oh yes, mass’r,” said Topsy,witness: National Era
St. Clare. ¶ “O yes, Mas’r,” said Topsy,witness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
St. Clare. ¶ “O yes, Mas’r,” said Topsy,witness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
St. Clare. ¶ “O, yes, mas’r,” said Topsy,witness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
St. Clare. ¶ “O, yes, Mas’r,” said Topsy,witness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

The form “Oh” is more common in the National Era serial and in Stowe’s surviving manuscript pages. The form “O” is the printer’s conventional spelling that predominates in the three Jewett editions. The Houghton Osgood “New Edition” (1879) follows the practice of the first Jewett edition (1852).
said Topsy, with another
twinkle, her hands still devoutly folded.
“Now, Augustine, what upon earth is this
for?” said Miss Ophelia. “Your house is so full
of these little plagues now, that a body can’t set
down their foot without treading on ’em. I get
up in the
X
morning, and I find onewitness: National Era
morning, and [omit] find onewitness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
morning, and [omit] find onewitness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
morning, and [omit] find onewitness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
morning, and [omit] find onewitness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

In this sentence of multiple parallel clauses, parts of clauses are dropped out when clauses of similar form are repeated. As the manuscript section is not extant, and as reason that “I” was retained or dropped is indifferent, the author, the printer George C. Rand’s compositor, or a Jewett proofreader may be responsible for the alteration.
asleep behind
the door, and see one black head poking out
from under the table, one lying on the door mat,
and they are mopping and
X
mopping and moving and grinningwitness: National Era
mopping and mowing and grinningwitness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
mopping and mowing and grinningwitness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
mopping, and mowing, and grinningwitness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
mopping and mowing and grinningwitness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the phrase “mopping and mowing” refers to grimacing and making faces. The National Era serial form “moving” may represent an effort to avoid repetition of sense with the word “grinning.” But it is more likely that the newspaper serial form is an error that originates in the authorial manuscript or the serial typesetting, which is corrected in all subsequent editions.
and grinning
between all the railings, and tumbling over the
kitchen floor. What on earth did you want
to bring this one for?”
“For you to educate—didn’t I tell you? You’re
always preaching about educating. I thought
I would make you a present of a fresh-caught
specimen, and let you try your hand on her, and
bring her up in the way she should go.”
I don’t want her, I am sure—I have more to
do with ’em now than I want to.”
“That’s
X
to.” ¶ “That’s you, Christians all over—you’ll get up witness: National Era
to.” ¶ “That’s you Christians, all over!—you’ll get up witness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
to.” ¶ “That’s you Christians, all over!—you’ll get up witness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
to.” ¶ “That’s you Christians, all over!—you’ll get up witness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
to.” ¶ “That’s you Christians, all over!—you’ll get up witness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

In the National Era serial, a comma follows “you,” and no exclamation mark precedes the em dash after “over.” The newspaper form suggests that Augustine St. Clare implies a fault in Miss Ophelia’s Christianity: the form of “Christians” is an aspect that she wears, with an emphasis on outer appearance. The reading is inferred based on voice inflection that the rhetorical style of pointing permits. In the Jewett editions, two-volume (1852), “Million” (1852/53), and “Illustrated” (1853), and in the Houghton Osgood “New Edition” (1879), all of which use syntactic punctuation, St. Clare labels Miss Ophelia a representative Christian, and the exclamation mark emphasizes his act of labeling.
get
up a
X
up a Society, and getwitness: National Era
up a society, and getwitness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
up a society, and getwitness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
up a society, and getwitness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
up a society, and getwitness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

Capitalization of Society
The capital “S” of Society in National Era may refer to a particular beneficent society. Regardless of whether capitalized, Harriet Beecher Stowe’s word is ambiguous, but capitalization may suggest a group that serial readers would associate with membership in a national anti-slavery society. To join a Society is to participate in recognized anti-slavery activism, which the subscribers to the Era would hardly consider radical. To join a generic and lower-case society, by contrast, could include beneficent activities of a local or limited scope, a form of political activism that St. Clare may dismiss as ineffective.
Stowe’s father Lyman Beecher actively promoted the Cincinnati Colonization Society, a branch of the American Colonization Society, which encouraged conciliation with advocates of slavery and hoped to limit the social disruption of anti-slavery activism. During the Lane Seminary Debates of 1834, Beecher’s moderation was repudiated by Theodore Weld and his fellow students. Weld and the Lane Students approved the more radical policies of William Lloyd Garrison and the American Anti-Slavery Society, which advocated immediate emancipation. See Joan D. Hedrick, Harriet Beecher Stowe: A Life (New York: Oxford University Press, 1994), 102–05; Thomas D. Matijasic, “The African Colonization Movement and Ohio’s Protestant Community” Phylon 46 (1985): 20.
and get some poor missionary to
spend all his days among just such heathen.
But let me see one of you that would take one
into your house with you, and take the labor of
their conversion on yourselves. No; when it
comes to that, they are dirty and disagreeable,
and it’s too much care, and so on.”
“Augustine, you know I didn’t think of it in
that light,” said Miss Ophelia, evidently soften-
ing. “Well, it might be a real missionary
work,” said she, looking rather more favorably
on the child.
St. Clare had touched the right string. Miss
Ophelia’s conscientiousness was ever on the
alert. “But,” she added, “I really didn’t see
the need of buying this one—there are
X
there are enough now in your house to takewitness: National Era
there are enough now, in your house, to takewitness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
there are enough, now in your house, to takewitness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
there are enough now, in your house, to takewitness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
there are enough now, in your house, to takewitness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

The National Era serial often employs rhetorical punctuation, so no commas set off the adverbial modifier “now” to specify which aspect of Miss Ophelia’s sentence it modifies. The vocal stress that the reader places on “now” determines whether Miss Ophelia intends the word to modify “enough” or the prepositional phrase “in your house.” If the former, Miss Ophelia places slightly greater emphasis on the presence of “enough” slaves. If the latter, she places slightly greater emphasis on the house’s capacity for additional slaves.
The Jewett first edition (1852) and “Illustrated Edition” (1853) and the Houghton Osgood “New Edition” (1879) provide more conventional, but differing, syntactic punctuation forms, “enough now,” by which Miss Ophelia may imply that her ability to tolerate additional slaves has reached its limit. The punctuation of the Jewett “Million” edition (1852/53), with a comma after “enough,” offers a quizzical distinction, which places a slightly greater emphasis on the word “now,” perhaps to indicate a rhetorical possibility that is also suggested if commas are omitted, that a domestic household has a finite capacity for slave children.
to take all my time and
skill.”
“Well, then,
X
“Well, then, cousin,” said St.witness: National Era
“Well, then, Cousin,” said St.witness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
“Well, then, cousin,” said St.witness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
“Well, then, cousin,” said St.witness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
“Well, then, cousin,” said St.witness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

The word “Cousin,” when capitalized, suggests a formal title. Because “Cousin” is not a formal title, the reader infers that the use of capitalization highlights the teasing quality of Augustine St. Clare’s banter with Miss Ophelia. In the National Era, St. Clare only uses the upper-case form once in this chapter, when he first calls Miss Ophelia so that he can exhibit Topsy for her. In the two-volume Jewett edition (1852), St. Clare in this chapter uses the upper-case form “Cousin” whenever he addresses Miss Ophelia, which suggests that he continues to engage in teasing banter.
By contrast, in all subsequent editions, the Jewett “Million” (1852/53) and “Illustrated” (1853) and the Houghton Osgood “New Edition” (1879), St. Clare always addresses Miss Ophelia with the lower-case form “cousin.” If the text of the Era serial reflects the manuscript, Stowe intended originally to open the chapter with St. Clare’s teasing of Miss Ophelia and then to assume the generic lower-case form of address, which implies greater sincerity in his later address to her. Either Stowe or a Jewett compositor chose to capitalize all instances of “Cousin” in the Jewett first edition. When the word is not capitalized, it tones down the satiric quality and instead emphasizes St. Clare’s genuine insistence that Miss Ophelia’s criticism of slavery as a system is pointless if not backed up with action.
said St. Clare, drawing
her aside, “I ought to beg your pardon for my
good-for-nothing speeches. You are so good, af-
ter all, that there’s no sense in them. Why, the
fact is, this concern belonged to a couple of
drunken creatures that keep a low restaurant
that I have to pass by every day, and I was
tired of hearing her screaming, and them beat-
ing and swearing at her. She looked bright
and funny, too, as if something might be made
of her—so I bought her, and I’ll give her to
you. Try, now, and give her a good orthodox
New England bringing up, and see what it’ll
make of her. You know I haven’t any gift
that way, but I’d like you to try.”
“Well, I’ll do what I can,” said Miss Ophelia;
and she approached her new subject very much
as a person might be supposed to approach a
black spider, supposing them to have benevo-
lent designs toward it.
“She’s dreadfully dirty, and half naked,” she
said.
“Well, take her down stairs, and make some
of them clean and clothe her up.”
Miss Ophelia carried her to the kitchen
regions.
“Don’t see what
X
see what mass’r St. Clarewitness: National Era
see what Mas’r St. Clarewitness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
see what Mas’r St. Clarewitness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
see what Mas’r St. Clarewitness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
see what Mas’r St. Clarewitness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

The capitalized form “Mas’r,” which typically appears in the Jewett two-volume (1852) and “Million” edition (1852/53) and the Houghton Osgood “New Edition” (1879), is in this instance retained in the “Illustrated Edition” (1853). The National Era serial has its usual lower-case form “mass’r,” which follows the capitalization practice of the surviving manuscript pages.
Since the “Illustrated Edition” generally has the form “mas’r,” Dinah’s use of the capitalized form may represent a compositor’s oversight. However, Dinah in these words notes her disapproval of her master Augustine St. Clare’s purchase of Topsy. To readers accustomed with the usual capitalization practice in this edition, Dinah’s word form could suggest that she adopts deliberately the most sycophantic form of address to soften her critique of St. Clare’s act. Also see variant dialect forms of master and missis.
St. Clare wants of
nother nigger,” said Dinah, surveying the new
arrival with no friendly air. “Won’t have
her round under my feet, I know.”
“Pah! said Rosa and Jane, with supreme
disgust, “let her keep out of our way. What in
the world
X
the world mass’r wanted anotherwitness: National Era
the world Mas’r wanted anotherwitness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
the world Mas’r wanted anotherwitness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
the world mas’r wanted anotherwitness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
the world Mas’r wanted anotherwitness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

In the National Era serial, the lower-case form “mass’r” predominates, which reflects the practice of lower-case “masser” in Stowe’s manuscript. The Jewett two-volume (1852) and “Million” editions (1852/53) use consistently the capitalized “Mas’r.” In the Jewett “Illustrated Edition” (1853), an uncapitalized form of the word appears, “mas’r.” The “Illustrated” edition retains the dialect apostrophe of the two-volume and the “Million” editions, but its form “mas’r,” like its form “missis,” may imply that the title of master within slavery is an unlawful convention that should not be honored with capitalization.
For the two-volume and “Million” editions, the printer George C. Rand or publisher Jewett may have imposed—and Stowe may have accepted—the conventional capitalization of this word form, perhaps so that the Jewett editions could appeal to a broader audience than the Era’s anti-slavery readers. Stowe presumably sought to return the Jewett “Illustrated Edition” word to a form closer to the manuscript and serial practice. If the more select audiences of the work in an anti-slavery newspaper and the “Illustrated” edition are expected to be more sympathetic to the anti-slavery cause, such readers may appreciate the subtle insinuation that linguistic conventions that are associated with courtesy support the perpetuation of slavery as an unlawful system. The Houghton Osgood “New Edition” (1879) follows the practice of the two-volume Jewett edition. Also see variant dialect forms of missis.
wanted another of these low
niggers for, I can’t see.”
“You go long. No more nigger dan you be,
Miss Rosa,” said Dinah, who felt this last re-
mark [column e] a reflection on herself. “You seem to
tink yourself white folks. You
X
folks. You aint nerry one,witness: National Era
folks. You an’t nerry one,witness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
folks. You an’t nerry one,witness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
folks. You an’t nerry one,witness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
folks. You an’t nerry one,witness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

The National Era serial reflects Stowe’s manuscript preference for “aint,” which publisher John P. Jewett normalized to “an’t” in the two-volume (1852), “Million” (1852/53), and “Illustrated” (1853) editions. The Houghton Osgood “New Edition” (1879) continued the practice. The form “aint” implies a pejorative difference in class, region, or race. The form “an’t” also departs from conventional English, but the form is less pejorative and emphasizes instead pronunciation. The execution of dialect is defensible for mid-century standards of consistency for spelling but faulty by standards of the late nineteenth or the early twentieth century.
nerry one,
black nor white. I’d like to be one or tur-
rer.”
Miss Ophelia saw that there was nobody in
the camp that would undertake to oversee
the cleansing and dressing of the new arrival,
and so she was forced to do it herself, with
some very ungracious and reluctant assistance
from Jane.
It is not for ears polite to hear the particulars
of the first toilet of a neglected, abused child.
In fact, in this world, multitudes must live and
die in a state that it would be too great a shock
to the nerves of their fellow mortals even to
hear described. Miss Ophelia had a good,
strong, practical deal of resolution, and she
went through all the disgusting details with
heroic thoroughness, though, it must be con-
fessed, with no very gracious air; for endurance
was the utmost to which her principles could
bring her. When she saw, on the back and
shoulders of the child, great welts and calloused
spots, ineffaceable marks of the system under
which she had grown up thus far, her heart
became pitiful within her.
“See there!” said Jane, pointing to the
marks, “don’t that show she’s a limb? We’ll
have fine works with her, I reckon. I hate
these nigger young uns! so disgusting! I wonder
that
X
wonder that mass’r would buywitness: National Era
wonder that Mas’r would buywitness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
wonder that Mas’r would buywitness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
wonder that mas’r would buywitness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
wonder that Mas’r would buywitness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

In the National Era serial, the lower-case form “mass’r” predominates, which reflects the practice of lower-case “masser” in Stowe’s manuscript. The Jewett two-volume (1852) and “Million” editions (1852/53) use consistently the capitalized “Mas’r.” In the Jewett “Illustrated Edition” (1853), an uncapitalized form of the word appears, “mas’r.” The “Illustrated” edition retains the dialect apostrophe of the two-volume and the “Million” editions, but its form “mas’r,” like its form “missis,” may imply that the title of master within slavery is an unlawful convention that should not be honored with capitalization.
For the two-volume and “Million” editions, the printer George C. Rand or publisher Jewett may have imposed—and Stowe may have accepted—the conventional capitalization of this word form, perhaps so that the Jewett editions could appeal to a broader audience than the Era’s anti-slavery readers. Stowe presumably sought to return the Jewett “Illustrated Edition” word to a form closer to the manuscript and serial practice. If the more select audiences of the work in an anti-slavery newspaper and the “Illustrated” edition are expected to be more sympathetic to the anti-slavery cause, such readers may appreciate the subtle insinuation that linguistic conventions that are associated with courtesy support the perpetuation of slavery as an unlawful system. The Houghton Osgood “New Edition” (1879) follows the practice of the two-volume Jewett edition. Also see variant dialect forms of missis.
would buy her.”
The “young un” alluded to heard all these
comments with the subdued and doleful air
which seemed habitual to her, only scanning
with a keen and furtive glance of her flickering
eyes the ornaments which Jane wore in her
ears. When arrayed at last in a suit of decent
and whole clothing, her hair cropped short to
her head, Miss Ophelia with some satisfaction
said she looked more Christian-like than she
did, and in her own mind began to mature some
plans for her instruction.
Sitting down before her, she began to ques-
tion her.
“How old are you, Topsy?”
“Dun no, missis,” said the image, with a grin
that showed all her teeth.
“Don’t know how old you are? Didn’t any-
body ever tell you? Who was your mother?”
“Never had none!” said the child, with
another grin.
“Never had any mother? What do you
mean? Where were you born?”
“Never was born!” persisted Topsy, with
another grin, that looked so goblin-like, that if
Miss Ophelia had been at all nervous she might
have fancied that she had got hold of some
sooty gnome from the land of Diablerie; but
Miss Ophelia was not nervous, but plain and
business-like, and she said, with some stern-
ness—
“You mustn’t answer me in that way, child;
I’m not playing with you. Tell me where you
were born, and who your father and mother
were.”
“Never was born,” reiterated the creature,
more emphatically; “never had no father nor
mother nor nothin. I was raised by a specula-
tor, with lots of others. Old Aunt Sue used
to take car on us.”
The child was evidently sincere, and Jane,
breaking into a short laugh, said—
X
short laugh, said— ¶ “Laws, missis, there’s heapswitness: National Era
short laugh, said, ¶ “Laws, Missis, there’s heapswitness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
short laugh, said, ¶ “Laws, Missis, there’s heapswitness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
short laugh, said,— ¶ “Laws, missis, there’s heaps witness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
short laugh, said,— ¶ “Laws, Missis, there’s heapswitness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

In the surviving manuscript pages, the National Era serial, and the Jewett “Illustrated Edition” (1853), the lower-case form “missis” is predominant. A lower-case form may indicate that the title “Missis,” like “Mas’r,” is a convention of courtesy that should be questioned. In the Jewett two-volume (1852) and “Million” editions (1852/53) and the Houghton Osgood “New Edition” (1879), the publisher or printer may have imposed—and Stowe may have accepted—the conventional forms. The choice in capitalization may reflect judgment about the audience of each publication form. If the select readers of the work in the anti-slavery Era newspaper and the “Illustrated Edition” are anticipated to be more sympathetic to the anti-slavery cause, the lower-case form could suggest that the upper-case title is unwarranted. Sympathetic readers may appreciate the subtle insinuation that courtesy contributes to the support of slavery as an unlawful system. Also see the dialect forms of master.
there’s heaps of ’em. Specu-
lators buys ’em up cheap when they’s little, and
gets ’em raised for market.”
“How long have you lived with your master
and mistress?”
“Dun no,
X
“Dun no, missis.” ¶ “Is itwitness: National Era
“Dun no, Missis.” ¶ “Is itwitness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
“Dun no, Missis.” ¶ “Is itwitness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
“Dun no, missis.” ¶ “Is itwitness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
“Dun no, missis.” ¶ “Is itwitness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

In the surviving manuscript pages, the National Era serial, and the Jewett “Illustrated Edition” (1853), the lower-case form “missis” is predominant. A lower-case form may indicate that the title “Missis,” like “Mas’r,” is a convention of courtesy that should be questioned. In the Jewett two-volume (1852) and “Million” editions (1852/53) and the Houghton Osgood “New Edition” (1879), the publisher or printer may have imposed—and Stowe may have accepted—the conventional forms. The choice in capitalization may reflect judgment about the audience of each publication form. If the select readers of the work in the anti-slavery Era newspaper and the “Illustrated Edition” are anticipated to be more sympathetic to the anti-slavery cause, the lower-case form could suggest that the upper-case title is unwarranted. Sympathetic readers may appreciate the subtle insinuation that courtesy contributes to the support of slavery as an unlawful system. Also see the dialect forms of master.
“Is it a year, or more, or less?”
“Dun no, missis.”
“Laws,
X
“Laws, missis, those lowwitness: National Era
“Laws, Missis, those lowwitness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
“Laws, Missis, those lowwitness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
“Laws, missis, those lowwitness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
“Laws, Missis, those lowwitness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

In the surviving manuscript pages, the National Era serial, and the Jewett “Illustrated Edition” (1853), the lower-case form “missis” is predominant. A lower-case form may indicate that the title “Missis,” like “Mas’r,” is a convention of courtesy that should be questioned. In the Jewett two-volume (1852) and “Million” editions (1852/53) and the Houghton Osgood “New Edition” (1879), the publisher or printer may have imposed—and Stowe may have accepted—the conventional forms. The choice in capitalization may reflect judgment about the audience of each publication form. If the select readers of the work in the anti-slavery Era newspaper and the “Illustrated Edition” are anticipated to be more sympathetic to the anti-slavery cause, the lower-case form could suggest that the upper-case title is unwarranted. Sympathetic readers may appreciate the subtle insinuation that courtesy contributes to the support of slavery as an unlawful system. Also see the dialect forms of master.
those low negroes, they can’t
tell; they don’t know anything about time,”
said Jane; “they don’t know what a year is;
they don’t know their own ages.”
“Have you ever heard anything about God,
Topsy?”
The child looked bewildered, but grinned as
usual.
“Do you know who made you?”
“Nobody, as I knows on,” said the child,
with a short laugh.
The idea appeared to amuse her considera-
bly, for her eyes twinkled, and she added—
“I spect I grow’d. Don’t think nobody never
made me.”
“Do you know how to sew?” said Miss Ophe-
lia, who thought she would turn her inquiries
to something more tangible.
“No,
X
tangible. ¶ “No, missis.” ¶ “What canwitness: National Era
tangible. ¶ “No, Missis.” ¶ “What canwitness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
tangible. ¶ “No, Missis.” ¶ “What canwitness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
tangible. ¶ “No, missis.”¶ “What canwitness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
tangible. ¶ “No, Missis.” ¶ “What canwitness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

In the surviving manuscript pages, the National Era serial, and the Jewett “Illustrated Edition” (1853), the lower-case form “missis” is predominant. A lower-case form may indicate that the title “Missis,” like “Mas’r,” is a convention of courtesy that should be questioned. In the Jewett two-volume (1852) and “Million” editions (1852/53) and the Houghton Osgood “New Edition” (1879), the publisher or printer may have imposed—and Stowe may have accepted—the conventional forms. The choice in capitalization may reflect judgment about the audience of each publication form. If the select readers of the work in the anti-slavery Era newspaper and the “Illustrated Edition” are anticipated to be more sympathetic to the anti-slavery cause, the lower-case form could suggest that the upper-case title is unwarranted. Sympathetic readers may appreciate the subtle insinuation that courtesy contributes to the support of slavery as an unlawful system. Also see the dialect forms of master.
“What can you do—what did you do for
your master and mistress?”
“Fetch water, and wash dishes, and rub
knives, and wait on folks.”
“Were they good to you?”
“Spect they was,” said the child, scanning
Miss Ophelia cunningly.
Miss Ophelia rose from this encouraging col-
loquy; St. Clare was leaning over the back of
her chair.
“You find virgin soil there,
X
soil there, cousin; put inwitness: National Era
soil there, Cousin; put inwitness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
soil there, cousin; put inwitness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
soil there, cousin; put inwitness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
soil there, cousin; put inwitness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

The word “Cousin,” when capitalized, suggests a formal title. Because “Cousin” is not a formal title, the reader infers that the use of capitalization highlights the teasing quality of Augustine St. Clare’s banter with Miss Ophelia. In the National Era, St. Clare only uses the upper-case form once in this chapter, when he first calls Miss Ophelia so that he can exhibit Topsy for her. In the two-volume Jewett edition (1852), St. Clare in this chapter uses the upper-case form “Cousin” whenever he addresses Miss Ophelia, which suggests that he continues to engage in teasing banter.
By contrast, in all subsequent editions, the Jewett “Million” (1852/53) and “Illustrated” (1853) and the Houghton Osgood “New Edition” (1879), St. Clare always addresses Miss Ophelia with the lower-case form “cousin.” If the text of the Era serial reflects the manuscript, Stowe intended originally to open the chapter with St. Clare’s teasing of Miss Ophelia and then to assume the generic lower-case form of address, which implies greater sincerity in his later address to her. Either Stowe or a Jewett compositor chose to capitalize all instances of “Cousin” in the Jewett first edition. When the word is not capitalized, it tones down the satiric quality and instead emphasizes St. Clare’s genuine insistence that Miss Ophelia’s criticism of slavery as a system is pointless if not backed up with action.
put in
your own ideas—you won’t find many to pull
up.”
Miss Ophelia’s ideas of education, like all
her other ideas, were very set and definite, and
of the kind that prevailed in New England a
century ago, and which are still preserved in
some very retired and unsophisticated parts
where there are no railroads. As nearly as
could be expressed, they could be comprised in
very few words: to teach them to mind when
they were spoken to; to teach them the cate-
chism, sewing, and reading; and to whip them
if they told lies. And, though of course in the
flood of light that is now poured on education,
these are left far away in the rear, yet it is an
undisputed fact that our grandmothers raised
some tolerably fair men and women under this
regime, as many of us can remember and testi-
fy. At all events, Miss Ophelia knew of noth-
ing else to do, and therefore applied her mind
to her heathen with the best diligence she
could command.
The child was announced and considered in
the family as Miss Ophelia’s girl; and as she
was looked upon with no gracious eye in the
kitchen, Miss Ophelia resolved to confine her
sphere of operation and instruction chiefly to
her own chamber. With a self-sacrifice which
some of our readers will appreciate, she re-
solved, instead of comfortably making her own
bed, sweeping and dusting her own chamber,
which she had hitherto done in utter scorn of
all offers of help from the chambermaid of the
establishment, to condemn herself to the mar-
tyrdom of instructing Topsy to perform these
operations—ah, wo the day. Did any of our
readers ever do the same, they will appreciate
the amount of her self-sacrifice.
Miss Ophelia began with Topsy by taking
her into her chamber the first morning, and
solemnly commencing a course of instruction in
the art and mystery of bed-making.
Behold, then, Topsy, washed and shorn of all
the little braided tails wherein her heart had
delighted, arrayed in a clean gown, with well-
starched apron, standing reverently before Miss
Ophelia with an expression of solemnity well
befitting a funeral.
“Now, Topsy, I’m going to show you just
how my bed is to be made. I am very particu-
lar about my bed. You must learn exactly how
to do it.”
“Yes, ma’am,” says Topsy, with a deep sigh
and a face of woeful earnestness.
“Now, Topsy, look here—this is the hem of
the sheet—this is the right side of the sheet,
and this is the wrong—will you remember?”
“Yes, ma’am,” says Topsy, with another
sigh.
“Well, now, the under sheet you must bring
over the bolster—so, and tuck it clear down
under the
X
under the matrass nice andwitness: National Era
under the mattress nice andwitness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
under the mattress nice andwitness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
under the mattress nice andwitness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
under the mattress nice andwitness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

An American Spelling, Or an Error
In the National Era serial, the spelling “matrass” may be an error for “matress,” which Noah Webster in his American Dictionary of the English Language (1830) considered the “more correct spelling.” The spelling “mattrass” (with two t’s) was an acceptable alternative to “mattress.” While Stowe may use antiquated spelling “matrass,” with its loss of a “t” as an inflection from Webster, to comment on Miss Ophelia’s old-fashioned notions, it is not Stowe’s preferred spelling. In chapter 39 (Era, chap. 38 [11 Mar. 1852]) Stowe uses the typical spelling in plural “mattresses.” Therefore, the Era serial spelling is probably a typesetting error.
nice and smooth—so, do you
see?”
“Yes, ma’am,” said Topsy, with profound at-
tention.
“But the upper sheet,” said Miss Ophelia,
“must be brought down in this way, and tuck-
ed under firm and smooth at the foot—so—the
narrow hem at the foot.”
“Yes, ma’am,” said Topsy, as before—but
we will add what Miss Ophelia did not see,
that during the time when the good lady’s back
was turned, in the zeal of her manipulations,
the young disciple had contrived to snatch a
pair of gloves and a ribbon, which she had
adroitly slipped into her sleeves, and stood with
her hands dutifully folded as before.
“Now, Topsy, let’s see you do this,” said Miss
[column f] Ophelia, pulling off the clothes and seating her-
self.
Topsy with great gravity and adroitness went
through the exercise completely to Miss Ophe-
lia’s satisfaction—smoothing the sheets, patting
out every wrinkle, and exhibiting through the
whole process a gravity and seriousness with
which her instructress was greatly edified. By
an unlucky slip, however, a fluttering fragment
of the ribbon hung out of one of her sleeves, just
as she was finishing, and caught Miss Ophelia’s
attention. Instantly she pounced upon it.
“What’s this? you naughty, wicked child—
you’ve been stealing this!”
The ribbon was pulled out of Topsy’s own
sleeve, yet was she not in the least disconcerted;
she only looked at it with an air of the most
surprised and unconscious innocence.
“Laws, why, that ar’s Miss Feely’s ribbon,
aint it? How could it a got caught in my
sleeve?”
“Topsy, you naughty girl, don’t you tell me
a lie—you stole that ribbon.”
“Missis, I
X
“Missis, I declar for’t Iwitness: National Era
“Missis, I declar for’t Iwitness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
“Missis, I declar for’t Iwitness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
“Missis, I declare for’t, Iwitness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
“Missis, I declar for’t Iwitness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

In the Jewett “Illustrated Edition” (1853) Topsy’s dialect form “declar” is corrected to “declare”; “dis yer” to “this yer”; “swarin” to “swarin’ ”; and “de time” to “the time.” The Jewett “Illustrated Edition” has fewer dialect word forms and greater use of apostrophes to indicate omitted letters, to an extent that suggests systematic alteration. By comparison with the other editions, the use of typical English word forms rather than dialect may reflect the influence of Miss Ophelia’s training. Stowe or her publisher may have altered the dialect practice for the more select audience of the “Illustrated Edition” to suggest the efficacy of educational reform efforts.
for’t I didn’t—never seed it
till
X
it till dis yer blessedwitness: National Era
it till dis yer blessedwitness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
it till dis yer blessedwitness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
it till this yer blessedwitness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
it till dis yer blessedwitness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

In the Jewett “Illustrated Edition” (1853) Topsy’s dialect form “declar” is corrected to “declare”; “dis yer” to “this yer”; “swarin” to “swarin’ ”; and “de time” to “the time.” The Jewett “Illustrated Edition” has fewer dialect word forms and greater use of apostrophes to indicate omitted letters, to an extent that suggests systematic alteration. By comparison with the other editions, the use of typical English word forms rather than dialect may reflect the influence of Miss Ophelia’s training. Stowe or her publisher may have altered the dialect practice for the more select audience of the “Illustrated Edition” to suggest the efficacy of educational reform efforts.
yer blessed minnit.”
“Topsy,” said Miss Ophelia, “don’t you know
it’s wicked to tell lies?”
“I never tells no lies, Miss Feely,” said Topsy,
with virtuous gravity—“it’s jist the truth I’ve
been a
X
a tellin now—and aint nothin else.”witness: National Era
a tellin now, and an’t nothin else.”witness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
a tellin now, and an’t nothin else.” witness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
a tellin’ now, and an’t nothin’ else.” witness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
a tellin’ now, and an’t nothin’ else.” witness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

In the Jewett “Illustrated Edition” (1853) Topsy’s dialect form “declar” is corrected to “declare”; “dis yer” to “this yer”; “swarin” to “swarin’ ”; and “de time” to “the time.” The Jewett “Illustrated Edition” has fewer dialect word forms and greater use of apostrophes to indicate omitted letters, to an extent that suggests systematic alteration. By comparison with the other editions, the use of typical English word forms rather than dialect may reflect the influence of Miss Ophelia’s training. Stowe or her publisher may have altered the dialect practice for the more select audience of the “Illustrated Edition” to suggest the efficacy of educational reform efforts.
else.”
“Topsy, I shall have to whip you if you tell
lies so.”
X
lies so.” ¶ “Law, missis, if you’switness: National Era
lies so.” ¶ “Laws, Missis, if you’switness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
lies so.” ¶ “Laws, Missis, if you’switness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
lies so.” ¶ “Laws, missis, if you’switness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
lies so.” ¶ “Laws, Missis, if you’switness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

In the surviving manuscript pages, the National Era serial, and the Jewett “Illustrated Edition” (1853), the lower-case form “missis” is predominant. A lower-case form may indicate that the title “Missis,” like “Mas’r,” is a convention of courtesy that should be questioned. In the Jewett two-volume (1852) and “Million” editions (1852/53) and the Houghton Osgood “New Edition” (1879), the publisher or printer may have imposed—and Stowe may have accepted—the conventional forms. The choice in capitalization may reflect judgment about the audience of each publication form. If the select readers of the work in the anti-slavery Era newspaper and the “Illustrated Edition” are anticipated to be more sympathetic to the anti-slavery cause, the lower-case form could suggest that the upper-case title is unwarranted. Sympathetic readers may appreciate the subtle insinuation that courtesy contributes to the support of slavery as an unlawful system. Also see the dialect forms of master.
if you’s to whip all day, couldn’t
say no other way,” said Topsy, beginning to
blubber. “I never seed dat ar—it must a got
caught in my sleeve—Miss Feely must have left
it on the bed, and it got caught in the clothes,
and so got in my sleeve.”
Miss Ophelia was so indignant at the bare-
faced lie, that she caught the child and shook
her.
X
and shook her. ¶ “Don’t you tellwitness: National Era
and shook her. ¶ “Don’t you tellwitness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
and shook her. ¶ “Don’t you tellwitness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
and shook her. [omit] “Don’t you tellwitness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
and shook her. ¶ “Don’t you tellwitness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

A paragraph break after “her” is removed in the Jewett “Illustrated Edition” (1853), presumably because Miss Ophelia remains the speaker.
you tell me that again!”
The shake brought the gloves on to the floor
from the other sleeve.
“There, you!” said Miss Ophelia, “will you
tell me now you didn’t steal the ribbon?”
Topsy now confessed to the gloves, but still
persisted in denying the ribbon.
“Now, Topsy,” said Miss Ophelia, “if you’ll
confess all about it, I won’t whip you this time.”
Thus adjured, Topsy confessed to the ribbon
and gloves, with woeful protestations of peni-
tence.
“Well, now, tell me. I know you must have
taken other things since you have been in the
house, for I let you run about all day yesterday.
Now, tell me if you took anything, and I shan’t
whip you.”
“Laws,
X
you.” ¶ “Laws, missis, I tookwitness: National Era
you.” ¶ “Laws, Missis! I tookwitness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
you.” ¶ “Laws, Missis! I tookwitness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
you.” ¶ “Laws, missis! I tookwitness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
you.” ¶ “Laws, Missis! I tookwitness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

In the surviving manuscript pages, the National Era serial, and the Jewett “Illustrated Edition” (1853), the lower-case form “missis” is predominant. A lower-case form may indicate that the title “Missis,” like “Mas’r,” is a convention of courtesy that should be questioned. In the Jewett two-volume (1852) and “Million” editions (1852/53) and the Houghton Osgood “New Edition” (1879), the publisher or printer may have imposed—and Stowe may have accepted—the conventional forms. The choice in capitalization may reflect judgment about the audience of each publication form. If the select readers of the work in the anti-slavery Era newspaper and the “Illustrated Edition” are anticipated to be more sympathetic to the anti-slavery cause, the lower-case form could suggest that the upper-case title is unwarranted. Sympathetic readers may appreciate the subtle insinuation that courtesy contributes to the support of slavery as an unlawful system. Also see the dialect forms of master.
I took Miss Eva’s red thing
she wars on her neck.”
“You did, you naughty child! Well, what
else?”
“I took Rosa’s yer rings—them red ones.”
“Go bring them to me this minute, both of
’em.”
“Laws,
X
’em.” ¶ “Laws, missis, I can’t—they’switness: National Era
Laws, Missis! I can’t,—they’s witness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
Laws, Missis! I can’t,—they’switness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
Laws, missis! I can’t,—they’switness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
Laws, Missis! I can’t,—they’switness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

In the surviving manuscript pages, the National Era serial, and the Jewett “Illustrated Edition” (1853), the lower-case form “missis” is predominant. A lower-case form may indicate that the title “Missis,” like “Mas’r,” is a convention of courtesy that should be questioned. In the Jewett two-volume (1852) and “Million” editions (1852/53) and the Houghton Osgood “New Edition” (1879), the publisher or printer may have imposed—and Stowe may have accepted—the conventional forms. The choice in capitalization may reflect judgment about the audience of each publication form. If the select readers of the work in the anti-slavery Era newspaper and the “Illustrated Edition” are anticipated to be more sympathetic to the anti-slavery cause, the lower-case form could suggest that the upper-case title is unwarranted. Sympathetic readers may appreciate the subtle insinuation that courtesy contributes to the support of slavery as an unlawful system. Also see the dialect forms of master.
I can’t—they’s burnt up!”
“Burnt up! what a story! Go get ’em, or
I’ll whip you.”
Topsy, with loud protestations and tears and
groans, declared that she could not. “They’s
burnt up—they was.”
“What did you burn ’em up for?” said Miss
Ophelia.
“Cause I’s wicked—I is. I’s mighty wicked
anyhow. I can’t help it.”
Just at this moment, Eva came innocently
into the room, with the identical coral neck-
lace on her neck.
“Why, Eva, where did you get your neck-
lace?” said Miss
X
said Miss Ophelia. ¶ “Get it?witness: National Era
said Miss Ophelia. ¶ “Get it?witness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
said Miss Ophelia.” ¶ “Get it?witness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
said Miss Ophelia. ¶ “Get it?witness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
said Miss Ophelia. ¶ “Get it?witness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

The closing quotation mark in the Jewett “Illustrated Edition” (1853) is an error
“Get it? Why, I’ve had it on all day,” said
Eva.
“Did you have it on yesterday?”
“Yes; and what is funny, Aunty, I had it on
all night. I forgot to take it off when I went
to bed.”
Miss Ophelia looked perfectly bewildered,
the more so as Rosa at that instant came into
the room, with a basket of newly-ironed linen
poised on her head, and the coral ear-drops
shaking in her ears!
“I’m sure I can’t tell anything what to do
with such a child!” she said, in despair. “What
in the world did you tell me you took those
things for, Topsy?”
“Why,
X
Topsy?” ¶ “Why, missis said Iwitness: National Era
Topsy?” ¶ “Why, Missis said Iwitness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
Topsy?” ¶ “Why, Missis said Iwitness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
Topsy?” ¶ “Why, missis said Iwitness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
Topsy?” ¶ “Why, Missis said Iwitness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

In the surviving manuscript pages, the National Era serial, and the Jewett “Illustrated Edition” (1853), the lower-case form “missis” is predominant. A lower-case form may indicate that the title “Missis,” like “Mas’r,” is a convention of courtesy that should be questioned. In the Jewett two-volume (1852) and “Million” editions (1852/53) and the Houghton Osgood “New Edition” (1879), the publisher or printer may have imposed—and Stowe may have accepted—the conventional forms. The choice in capitalization may reflect judgment about the audience of each publication form. If the select readers of the work in the anti-slavery Era newspaper and the “Illustrated Edition” are anticipated to be more sympathetic to the anti-slavery cause, the lower-case form could suggest that the upper-case title is unwarranted. Sympathetic readers may appreciate the subtle insinuation that courtesy contributes to the support of slavery as an unlawful system. Also see the dialect forms of master.
said I must ’fess, and I couldn’t
think of
X
think of nothin else towitness: National Era
think of nothin’ else towitness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
think of nothin else towitness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
think of nothin’ else towitness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
think of nothin’ else towitness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)
else to ’fess,” said Topsy, rub-
bing her eyes!
“But of course I didn’t want you to confess
things you didn’t do,” said Miss Ophelia;
“that’s telling a lie just as much as the other.”
“Laws, now, is it?” said Topsy, with an air
of innocent wonder.
“La, there
X
“La, there aint any suchwitness: National Era
“La, there an’t any suchwitness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
“La, there an’t any suchwitness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
“La, there an’t any suchwitness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
“La, there an’t any suchwitness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

The National Era serial reflects Stowe’s manuscript preference for “aint,” which publisher John P. Jewett normalized to “an’t” in the two-volume (1852), “Million” (1852/53), and “Illustrated” (1853) editions. The Houghton Osgood “New Edition” (1879) continued the practice. The form “aint” implies a pejorative difference in class, region, or race. The form “an’t” also departs from conventional English, but the form is less pejorative and emphasizes instead pronunciation. The execution of dialect is defensible for mid-century standards of consistency for spelling but faulty by standards of the late nineteenth or the early twentieth century.
any such thing as truth in
that limb,” said Rosa, looking indignantly at
Topsy. “If I was
X
I was mass’r St. Clare,witness: National Era
I was Mas’r St. Clare,witness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
I was Mas’r St. Clare,witness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
I was Mas’r St. Clare,witness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
I was Mas’r St. Clare,witness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

In the National Era serial, the lower-case form “mass’r” predominates, which reflects the practice of lower-case “masser” in Stowe’s manuscript. The Jewett two-volume (1852) and “Million” editions (1852/53) use consistently the capitalized “Mas’r.” In the Jewett “Illustrated Edition” (1853), an uncapitalized form of the word appears, “mas’r.” The “Illustrated” edition retains the dialect apostrophe of the two-volume and the “Million” editions, but its form “mas’r,” like its form “missis,” may imply that the title of master within slavery is an unlawful convention that should not be honored with capitalization.
For the two-volume and “Million” editions, the printer George C. Rand or publisher Jewett may have imposed—and Stowe may have accepted—the conventional capitalization of this word form, perhaps so that the Jewett editions could appeal to a broader audience than the Era’s anti-slavery readers. Stowe presumably sought to return the Jewett “Illustrated Edition” word to a form closer to the manuscript and serial practice. If the more select audiences of the work in an anti-slavery newspaper and the “Illustrated” edition are expected to be more sympathetic to the anti-slavery cause, such readers may appreciate the subtle insinuation that linguistic conventions that are associated with courtesy support the perpetuation of slavery as an unlawful system. The Houghton Osgood “New Edition” (1879) follows the practice of the two-volume Jewett edition. Also see variant dialect forms of missis.
St. Clare, I’d whip
her till the blood run. I would—I’d let her
catch it.”
“No, no, Rosa,” said Eva, with an air of
command, which the child could assume at
times; “you mustn’t talk so, Rosa. I can’t
bear to hear it.”
“La sakes, Miss Eva, you’s so good you don’t
know nothing how to get along with niggers.
There’s no way but to cut ’em well up, I
tell ye.”
“Rosa!” said Eva, “hush; don’t you say
another word of that sort;” and the eye of the
child flashed, and her cheek deepened its color.
Rosa was cowed in a moment.
“Miss Eva has got the St. Clare blood in
her, that’s plain. She can
X
She can speak for all the world just likewitness: National Era
She can speak, for all the world, just likewitness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
She can speak, for all the world, just likewitness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
She can speak, for all the world, just likewitness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
She can speak, for all the world, just likewitness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

Eva as Representative Child: To Speak for the World
In the National Era serial, Evangeline St. Clare speaks on the world’s behalf. In later editions, commas set off the phrase “for all the world.”
At this moment, Eva censures Rosa’s claim that African Americans can only be managed with recourse to violence. The revised form in book editions, “She can speak, for all the world, just like her papa,” changes dramatically the sense of the statement. The world, instead of speaking through Eva, is called upon to witness the extraordinary character of this child. The insertion of these commas should probably be attributed to one of George C. Rand’s compositors or to a John P. Jewett’s proofreader. And while the alteration is in keeping with a more general effort to conform more closely to norms for syntactic punctuation, the textual alteration also mythologizes Eva as a model for others. In chapter 19 (Era chap. 18 [23 Oct. 1851]), Augustine St. Clare uses the same phrase, set off by commas, when he refers to his own father and to Miss Ophelia’s Vermont father as duplicates of one another. Eva’s sympathy for enslaved African Americans derives in part from her father’s influence.
just like her papa,” she said, as she
passed out of the room.
Eva stood looking at Topsy.
There stood the two children,
X
representatives of the two extremeswitness: National Era
representatives of the two extremeswitness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
representatives of [omit] two extremeswitness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
representatives of the two extremeswitness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
representatives of the two extremeswitness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

In the Jewett “Million” edition (1852/53) the word “the” is omitted, presumably because a compositor erred. But the effect, in the “Million” edition, is to imply that extremes other than these two, Topsy and Eva, could exist. If the two children are “representatives of the two extremes,” as the text reads in all other editions, only two extremes exist.
of society. The fair, high-
bred child, with her golden head—her deep
eyes—her spiritual, noble brow, and prince-like
movements; and her black, keen, subtle, cring-
ing, yet acute neighbor. They stood the repre-
sentatives of their races. The Saxon, born of
ages of cultivation, command, education, physi-
cal and moral eminence; the Afric, born of
ages of oppression, submission, ignorance, toil,
and vice!
Something, perhaps, of such thoughts strug-
gled through Eva’s mind. But a child’s thoughts
are rather dim, undefined instincts; and in
Eva’s noble nature many such were yearning
and working, for which she had no power of
utterance. When Miss Ophelia expatiated
on Topsy’s naughty, wicked conduct, the child
looked perplexed and sorrowful, but said,
sweetly—
“Poor Topsy, why need you steal? You’re
going to be taken good care of now. I’m sure
I’d rather give you anything of mine than have
you steal it.”
It was the first word of kindness the child
had ever heard in her life; and the sweet tone
and manner struck strangely on the wild, rude
heart, and a sparkle of something like a tear
shone in the keen, round, glittering eye, but it
was followed by the short laugh and habitual
grin. No! the ear that
X
ear that had never heardwitness: National Era
ear that has never heardwitness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
ear that has never heardwitness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
ear that has never heardwitness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
ear that has never heardwitness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

Topsy as a Unique Child or as a Representative Slave Child
If the word is “had,” the National Era form, Topsy is singular to this work and a unique individual. As Topsy also participates in the “wench” stereotype of minstrelsy drama, the serial form asserts that Topsy as a unique individual transcends the stereotype that roots her in the tradition of a dramatic stock character. If the word is “has,” the version of all book forms, Topsy represents the neglected slave children still in bondage. She is a propagandistic reminder that slavery permits the abuse of defenseless children.
never heard any-
thing but abuse is strangely incredulous of
anything so heavenly as kindness; and Topsy
only thought Eva’s speech something funny and
inexplicable—she did not believe it.
But what was to be done with Topsy? Miss
Ophelia found the case a puzzler; her rules for
bringing up didn’t seem to apply. She thought
she would take time to think of it; and by way
of gaining time, and in hopes of some indefinite
moral virtues supposed to be inherent in dark
closets, Miss Ophelia shut Topsy up in one till
she had arranged her ideas further on the
subject.
“I don’t see,” said Miss Ophelia to St. Clare,
“how I’m going to manage that child, without
whipping her.”
“Well, whip her, then, to your heart’s con-
tent; I’ll give you full power to do what you
like.”
“Children always have to be whipped,” said
Miss Ophelia; “I never heard of bringing them
up without.”
“Oh, well, certainly,” said St. Clare; “do as
you think best. Only I’ll make one suggestion;
I’ve seen this child whipped with a poker,
knocked down with the shovel or tongs, which-
ever came handiest, &c.; and seeing that she is
used to that style of operation, I think your
whippings will have to be pretty energetic, to
make much impression.”
“What is to be done with her, then?” said
Miss Ophelia.
[column g]
“You have started a serious question,” said
St. Clare; “I wish you’d answer it. What is
to be done with a human being that can be
governed only by the lash—that fails—it’s a
very common state of things down here!”
“I’m sure I don’t know; I never saw such a
child as this.”
“Such children are very common among us,
and such men and women too. How are they
to be governed?” said St. Clare.
“I’m sure it’s more than I can say,” said
Miss Ophelia.
“Or I either,” said St. Clare; “the horrid
cruelties and outrages that once
X
that once and a whilewitness: National Era
that once and a whilewitness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
that once in a whilewitness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
that once and a whilewitness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
that once in a whilewitness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

The phrase “once and a while,” though deprecated in modern usage manuals, was used elsewhere by Stowe and appears to reflect her preference. The National Era serial, the Jewett two-volume (1852) and the “Illustrated Edition” (1853) use the less familiar form. The phrase “once in a while” was more common, but the alteration to the more familiar phrase in the Jewett “Million” edition (1852/53) and the Houghton Osgood “New Edition” (1879) is more likely to reflect a compositor’s or proofreader’s preference than authorial correction.
a while
find their way into the papers—such cases as
Prue’s, for example—what do they come from?
In many cases it is a gradual hardening pro-
cess on both sides—the owner growing more
and more cruel, as the servant more and more
callous. Whipping and abuse are like lauda-
num; you have to double the dose as the sen-
sibilities decline. I saw this very early when I
became an owner, and I resolved never to be-
gin, because I did not know when I should
stop; and I resolved at least to protect my own
moral nature. The consequence is, that my
servants act like spoiled children; but I think
that better than for us both to be brutalized
together. You have talked a great deal about
our responsibilities in educating,
X
in educating, cousin. I reallywitness: National Era
in educating, Cousin. I reallywitness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
in educating, cousin. I reallywitness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
in educating, cousin. I reallywitness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
in educating, cousin. I reallywitness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

The word “Cousin,” when capitalized, suggests a formal title. Because “Cousin” is not a formal title, the reader infers that the use of capitalization highlights the teasing quality of Augustine St. Clare’s banter with Miss Ophelia. In the National Era, St. Clare only uses the upper-case form once in this chapter, when he first calls Miss Ophelia so that he can exhibit Topsy for her. In the two-volume Jewett edition (1852), St. Clare in this chapter uses the upper-case form “Cousin” whenever he addresses Miss Ophelia, which suggests that he continues to engage in teasing banter.
By contrast, in all subsequent editions, the Jewett “Million” (1852/53) and “Illustrated” (1853) and the Houghton Osgood “New Edition” (1879), St. Clare always addresses Miss Ophelia with the lower-case form “cousin.” If the text of the Era serial reflects the manuscript, Stowe intended originally to open the chapter with St. Clare’s teasing of Miss Ophelia and then to assume the generic lower-case form of address, which implies greater sincerity in his later address to her. Either Stowe or a Jewett compositor chose to capitalize all instances of “Cousin” in the Jewett first edition. When the word is not capitalized, it tones down the satiric quality and instead emphasizes St. Clare’s genuine insistence that Miss Ophelia’s criticism of slavery as a system is pointless if not backed up with action.
I really
wanted you to try with one child, who is a
specimen of thousands among us.”
“It is your system makes such children,”
said Miss Ophelia.
“I know it; but they are made—they exist—
and what is to be done with them?”
“Well, I can’t say I thank you for the ex-
periment. But, then, as it appears to be a duty,
I shall persevere and try, and do the best I
can,” said Miss Ophelia; and Miss Ophelia,
after this, did labor with a commendable de-
gree of zeal and energy on her new subject.
She instituted regular hours and employments
for her, and undertook to teach her to read and
to sew.
In the former
X
the former act, the childwitness: National Era
the former art, the childwitness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
the former art, the childwitness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
the former art the childwitness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
the former art, the childwitness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

Reading as “Act” or “Art”
If Topsy’s reading is an “act,” the National Era form, the meaning of a text is manifest in reading. If Topsy’s reading is an “art,” the form in all three Jewett editions and the Houghton Osgood “New Edition” (1879), to arrive at meaning while reading demands active interpretation. The alteration site highlights the tension in Stowe’s work between a transparent message that is available to all readers, including children and the lowly, and the more complex messages that are accessible only to sophisticated readers. Soon Miss Ophelia will claim that Topsy, like all children, cannot be expected to understand the catechism passages that she repeats, but Topsy illustrates that she is a skeptical reader.
At multiple points in the novel, Stowe condemns artful reading. For example, see chapter 14 (11 Sep. 1851) on Tom’s reading of Scripture, where the text before him is “evidently true and divine.” Tom’s reading is contrasted to Cicero’s, which demands detailed study and the consultation of translations and annotations. Stowe’s most direct critique of artful reading is confined to one version of the text, in chapter 12 of the Era (28 Aug. 1851). There Stowe ’s narrator rebukes sophisticated readers, whom she designates satirically as a “philosophic friend,” whose reading of Christian scripture is informed by Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Essays (1847) and Thomas Carlyle’s Critical and Miscellaneous Essays (1838). She contrasts such readers to Uncle Tom, who seeks consolation by reciting scripture to himself. The satirical passage on Carlyle and Emerson was omitted for all editions after the Era. The alteration of this word “act” may be in parallel to the earlier revision.
The recognition of this tension between plain and artful reading might be pressed further, to apply also to Stowe’s novel as a whole. To highlight textual alteration is itself a particular type of reading, which claims, contrary to Stowe’s advisory against Cicero’s practice, that the analysis of textual complexity is an “art” with the potential to enrich the plain “act” of reading.
the child was quick enough.
She learned her letters as if by magic, and was
very soon able to read plain reading, but the
sewing was a more difficult matter. The crea-
ture was as lithe as a cat, and as active as a
monkey, and the confinement of sewing was
her abomination; so she broke her needles,
threw them slyly out of windows, or down in
chinks of the walls; she tangled, broke, and dir-
tied her thread, or, with a sly movement, would
throw a spool away altogether. Her motions
were almost as quick as those of a practiced
conjurer, and her command of her face quite
as great; and though Miss Ophelia could not
help feeling that so many accidents could not
possibly happen in succession, yet she could
not, without a watchfulness which would leave
her no time for anything else, detect her.
Topsy was soon a noted character in the es-
tablishment. Her talent for every species of
drollery, grimace, and mimickry—for dancing,
tumbling, climbing, singing, whistling, imita-
ting every sound that hit her fancy—seemed in-
exhaustible. In her play hours, she invariably
had every child in the establishment at her
heels, open-mouthed with admiration and won-
der, not excepting Miss Eva, who appeared to
be fascinated by her wild diablerie as a dove is
sometimes charmed by a glittering serpent.
Miss Ophelia was uneasy that Eva should fan-
cy Topsy’s society so much, and implored St.
Clare to forbid it.
“Poh, let the child alone,” said St. Clare;
“Topsy will do her good.”
“But so depraved a child—are you not afraid
she will teach her some mischief?”
“She can’t teach her mischief; she might
teach it to some children, but evil rolls off Eva’s
mind like dew off a cabbage leaf—not a drop
sinks in.”
“Don’t be too sure,” said Miss Ophelia. “I
know I’d never let a child of mine play with
Topsy.”
“Well, your children needn’t,” said St. Clare,
“but mine may; if Eva could have been spoil-
ed, it would have been done years ago.”
Topsy was at first despised and contemned
by the upper servants. They soon found rea-
son to alter their opinion. It was very soon
discovered that whoever cast an indignity on
Topsy was sure to meet with some inconvenient
accident shortly after—either a pair of ear-
rings or some cherished trinket would be miss-
ing, or an article of dress would be suddenly
found utterly ruined, or the person would stum-
ble accidentally into a pail of hot water, or a
libation of dirty slop would unaccountably
deluge them from above when in full gala
dress—and on all these occasions, when inves-
tigation was made, there was nobody found to
stand sponsor for the indignity. Topsy was
cited and had up before all the domestic judi-
catories time and again, but always sustained
her examinations with most edifying innocence
and gravity of appearance. Nobody in the
world ever doubted who did the things, but not
a scrap of any direct evidence could be found
to establish the suppositions, and Miss Ophelia
was too just to feel at liberty to proceed to any
lengths without it.
The mischiefs done were always so nicely
timed, also, as farther to shelter the aggressor.
Thus the times for revenge on Rosa and Jane,
the two chambermaids, were always chosen in
those seasons when (as not unfrequently hap-
pened) they were in disgrace with their mis-
tress—when any complaint from them would
of course meet with no sympathy. In short,
Topsy soon made the household understand the
propriety of letting her alone, and she was let
alone accordingly.
Topsy was smart and energetic in all manual
operations, learning everything that was taught
her with surprising quickness. With a few
lessons she had learned to do the proprieties of
Miss Ophelia’s chamber, in a way with which
even that particular lady could find no fault.
Mortal hands could not lay spread smoother,
adjust pillows more accurately, sweep and dust
and arrange more perfectly than Topsy, when
she chose—but she didn’t very often choose. If
Miss Ophelia, after three or four days of careful
and patient supervision, was so sanguine as to
suppose that Topsy had at last fallen into her
way, could do without overlooking, and so go
off and busy herself about something else,
Topsy would hold a perfect carnival of confu-
sion for some one or two hours. Instead of
making the bed, she would amuse herself with
pulling off the
X
off the pillow cases, putting her woollywitness: National Era
off the pillow-cases, butting her woollywitness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
off the pillow-cases, butting her woollywitness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
off the pillow cases, butting her woollywitness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
off the pillow-cases, butting her woollywitness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

Topsy’s Head in the Pillows: “Putting” or “Butting”
In the Era, the narrator describes Topsy as “putting” her head among the pillows. In all subsequent editions, her act is described as “butting” rather than “putting.” Whether either version is a typo or a deliberate authorial revision is impossible to determine. But if the Jewett two-volume edition (1852) has a typographical error, the error was repeated in the “Million” (1852/53) and the “Illustrated Edition” (1853). The Houghton Osgood “New Edition” (1879) also has “butting.”
The Era word “putting” is merely descriptive of Topsy’s play; the word “butting” highlights Topsy’s animalistic qualities. The popular George L. Aiken adaptation of the play (which debuted in Troy, NY in September 1852) advertised “Topsy butting the Yankee” (Aug. 1853) among its tableaux. In both the book printings and on the stage, the use of the word “butting” stressed Topsy’s animal characteristics and codified the cultural currency of the Jewett editions form.
her woolly
head among the pillows, till it would sometimes
be grotesquely ornamented with feathers stick-
ing out in various directions—she would climb
the posts and hang head downward from the
tops—flourish the sheets and spreads all over
the apartment—dress the bolster up in Miss
Ophelia’s night clothes, and enact various
scenic performances with that—singing and
whistling, and making grimaces at herself in
the looking glass—in short, as Miss Ophelia
phrased it, “raising Cain” generally.
On one occasion, Miss Ophelia found Topsy
with her very best scarlet India Canton crape
shawl wound round her head for a turban,
going on with her rehearsals before the glass in
great style—Miss Ophelia having, with careless-
ness most unheard-of in her, left the key for
once in her drawer.
“Topsy!” she would say, when at the end of
all patience, “what does make you act so?”
X
act so?” ¶ “Dunno, missis—I spects cause I’s so witness: National Era
act so?” ¶ “Dunno, Missis,—I spects cause I’s so witness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
act so?” ¶ “Dunno, Missis,—I spects cause I’s so witness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
act so?” ¶ “Dun no, missis,—I spects cause I’s so witness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
act so?” ¶ “Dunno, Missis,—I spects ’cause I’s so witness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

In this famous line, Topsy asserts that her quality of being wicked explains her sinful behavior, lying. She also reflects Miss Ophelia’s opinion and recycles the term “wicked” that Miss Ophelia had used to refer to her act of stealing the ribbon. Miss Ophelia implies that Topsy’s innate wickedness explains her stealing, and Topsy adapts to the suggestion by repeating it back to Miss Ophelia. The variant capitalization forms may inflect subtly the quality of their relationship. If the term “Missis” is capitalized, which it is in the Jewett two-volume (1852) and “Million” (1852/53) edition and the Houghton Osgood “New Edition” (1879), Topsy’s ability to adapt to conventional expectations may be implied. If “missis” is not capitalized, the form of the National Era serial and the Jewett “Illustrated Edition” (1853), Topsy may resist conventional expectations. However, the reader’s perception of Topsy’s resistance by this form of capitalization would inflect the reading of the entire chapter because it conforms to the general practice of capitalization in these editions.
Based on the surviving manuscript pages, Era serial and the “Illustrated Edition” (1853), Stowe for the word “missis” probably preferred the lower-case form. A lower-case form may indicate that the title “Missis,” like “Mas’r,” is an unwarranted convention. In the two-volume (1852) and “Million” (1852/53) edition and the “New Edition” (1879), the publisher may have imposed—and Stowe may have accepted—the conventional form. The choice may depend on audience. If readers of work in the Era and select readers of the “Illustrated Edition” are more sympathetic to the anti-slavery cause, they may be more likely to appreciate the subtle insinuation that courtesy contributes to the support of slavery as an unlawful system. Also see dialect forms of master.
The apostrophe in “ ’cause,” which appears in the Houghton Osgood “New Edition” (1879), is probably a compositor’s alteration without authorial authority.
I’s so wicked!”
“I don’t know anything what I shall do with
you Topsy.”
“Law,
X
Topsy.” ¶ “Law, missis, you mustwitness: National Era
Topsy.” ¶ “Law, Missis, you mustwitness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
Topsy.” ¶ “Law, Missis, you mustwitness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
Topsy.” ¶ “Law, missis, you mustwitness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
Topsy.” ¶ “Law, Missis, you mustwitness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

In the surviving manuscript pages, the National Era serial, and the Jewett “Illustrated Edition” (1853), the lower-case form “missis” is predominant. A lower-case form may indicate that the title “Missis,” like “Mas’r,” is a convention of courtesy that should be questioned. In the Jewett two-volume (1852) and “Million” editions (1852/53) and the Houghton Osgood “New Edition” (1879), the publisher or printer may have imposed—and Stowe may have accepted—the conventional forms. The choice in capitalization may reflect judgment about the audience of each publication form. If the select readers of the work in the anti-slavery Era newspaper and the “Illustrated Edition” are anticipated to be more sympathetic to the anti-slavery cause, the lower-case form could suggest that the upper-case title is unwarranted. Sympathetic readers may appreciate the subtle insinuation that courtesy contributes to the support of slavery as an unlawful system. Also see the dialect forms of master.
you must whip me; my old
X
my old missis allers whippedwitness: National Era
my old Missis allers whippedwitness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
my old Missis allers whippedwitness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
my old missis allers whippedwitness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
my old Missis allers whippedwitness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

In the surviving manuscript pages, the National Era serial, and the Jewett “Illustrated Edition” (1853), the lower-case form “missis” is predominant. A lower-case form may indicate that the title “Missis,” like “Mas’r,” is a convention of courtesy that should be questioned. In the Jewett two-volume (1852) and “Million” editions (1852/53) and the Houghton Osgood “New Edition” (1879), the publisher or printer may have imposed—and Stowe may have accepted—the conventional forms. The choice in capitalization may reflect judgment about the audience of each publication form. If the select readers of the work in the anti-slavery Era newspaper and the “Illustrated Edition” are anticipated to be more sympathetic to the anti-slavery cause, the lower-case form could suggest that the upper-case title is unwarranted. Sympathetic readers may appreciate the subtle insinuation that courtesy contributes to the support of slavery as an unlawful system. Also see the dialect forms of master.
allers whipped me. I
X
me. I aint used towitness: National Era
me. I an’t used towitness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
me. I an’t used towitness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
me. I an’t used towitness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
me. I an’t used towitness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

The National Era serial reflects Stowe’s manuscript preference for “aint,” which publisher John P. Jewett normalized to “an’t” in the two-volume (1852), “Million” (1852/53), and “Illustrated” (1853) editions. The Houghton Osgood “New Edition” (1879) continued the practice. The form “aint” implies a pejorative difference in class, region, or race. The form “an’t” also departs from conventional English, but the form is less pejorative and emphasizes instead pronunciation. The execution of dialect is defensible for mid-century standards of consistency for spelling but faulty by standards of the late nineteenth or the early twentieth century.
used to
X
used to workin unless Iwitness: National Era
used to workin’ unless Iwitness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
used to workin’ unless Iwitness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
used to workin’ unless Iwitness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
used to workin’ unless Iwitness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

The word “workin” in the National Era serial reflects the typical typesetting practice in that version, which has fewer apostrophes to indicate elided letters. The serial version is closer to Stowe’s manuscript practice. An apostrophe is added in the Jewett two-volume (1852), “Million” (1852/53), and “Illustrated” (1853) editions and the Houghton Osgood “New Edition” (1879).

unless I gets whipped.”
“Why, Topsy, I don’t want to whip you; you
can do well if you’ve a mind to; what is the
reason you won’t?”
“Laws,
X
won’t?” ¶ “Laws, missis, I’s usedwitness: National Era
won’t?” ¶ “Laws, Missis, I’s usedwitness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
won’t?” ¶ “Laws, Missis, I’s usedwitness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
won’t?” ¶ “Laws, missis, I’s usedwitness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
won’t?” ¶ “Laws, Missis, I’s usedwitness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

In the surviving manuscript pages, the National Era serial, and the Jewett “Illustrated Edition” (1853), the lower-case form “missis” is predominant. A lower-case form may indicate that the title “Missis,” like “Mas’r,” is a convention of courtesy that should be questioned. In the Jewett two-volume (1852) and “Million” editions (1852/53) and the Houghton Osgood “New Edition” (1879), the publisher or printer may have imposed—and Stowe may have accepted—the conventional forms. The choice in capitalization may reflect judgment about the audience of each publication form. If the select readers of the work in the anti-slavery Era newspaper and the “Illustrated Edition” are anticipated to be more sympathetic to the anti-slavery cause, the lower-case form could suggest that the upper-case title is unwarranted. Sympathetic readers may appreciate the subtle insinuation that courtesy contributes to the support of slavery as an unlawful system. Also see the dialect forms of master.
I’s used to whippin; I spects
it’s good for me.”
Miss Ophelia tried the recipe, and Topsy in-
variably made a terrible commotion, scream-
ing, groaning, and imploring, though half an
hour afterwards, when roosted on some projec-
tion of the balcony, and surrounded by a flock
of admiring “young uns,” she would express
the utmost contempt of the whole affair.
X
whole affair. ¶ “La, Miss Feelywitness: National Era
whole affair. ¶ “Law, Miss Feelywitness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
whole affair. ¶ “Law, Miss Feelywitness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
whole affair. ¶ “Law, Miss Feelywitness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
whole affair. ¶ “Law, Miss Feelywitness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

Both interjections, “La” and “Law,” are common, and the distinction does not appear to be systematic in the National Era serial. However, the interjection “La” is a seemingly meaningless interjection whereas the pronunciation “Law” in the Jewett two-volume (1852), “Million” (1852/53), and “Illustrated” (1853) editions and the Houghton Osgood “New Edition” could imply that whipping is tolerated in part on the basis of legal statute. Topsy, by suggesting a connection between law and cruelty, may provide in her pronunciation another reminder that slavery is both unlawful and cruel.
Miss Feely whip!—wouldn’t kill a
skeeter, her whippins. Oughter see how old
mass’r made the flesh fly; old mass’r know’d
how!”
Topsy always made great capital of her own
View Page 178
Full size in new window
[column a] sins and enormities, evidently considering them
as something peculiarly distinguishing.
X
peculiarly distinguishing. ¶ “La, you niggers,”witness: National Era
peculiarly distinguishing. ¶ “Law, you niggers,”witness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
peculiarly distinguishing. ¶ “Law, you niggers,”witness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
peculiarly distinguishing. ¶ “Law, you niggers,”witness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
peculiarly distinguishing. ¶ “Law, you niggers,”witness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

Both interjections, “La” and “Law,” are common, and the distinction does not appear to be systematic in the National Era serial. However, the interjection “La” in the serial is a seemingly meaningless interjection whereas the pronunciation “Law” the Jewett two-volume (1852) and “Million” (1852/53) and “Illustrated” (1853) editions and the Houghton Osgood “New Edition” (1879) could imply that “you niggers” are defined as “sinners” in part on the basis of legal statute. Topsy, by suggesting a connection between law and sin, may provide in her pronunciation another subtle reminder that slavery is both unlawful and sinful.
you niggers,” she would say to some of
her auditors, “does you know you’s all sinners?
Well, you is—everybody is. White folks is sin-
ners too, Miss Feely says so; but I spects nig-
gers is the biggest ones; but lor, ye aint any on
ye up to me. I’s so awful wicked there can’t
nobody do
X
nobody do nothin with me.witness: National Era
nobody do nothin’ with me.witness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
nobody do nothin’ with me.witness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
nobody do nothin’ with me.witness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
nobody do nothin’ with me.witness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

The form “nothin” reflects the typical National Era serial practice, which has fewer apostrophes to indicate elided letters. The serial form is closer to Stowe’s manuscript practice. Also see the form “declar” or “declare.”
with me. I used to keep old
X
keep old missis a swarin witness: National Era
keep old Missis a swarin’ witness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
keep old Missis a swarin’ witness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
keep old Missis a swarin’ witness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
keep old Missis a swarin’ witness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

In the surviving manuscript pages, the National Era serial, and the Jewett “Illustrated Edition” (1853), the lower-case form “missis” is predominant. A lower-case form may indicate that the title “Missis,” like “Mas’r,” is a convention of courtesy that should be questioned. In the Jewett two-volume (1852) and “Million” editions (1852/53) and the Houghton Osgood “New Edition” (1879), the publisher or printer may have imposed—and Stowe may have accepted—the conventional forms. The choice in capitalization may reflect judgment about the audience of each publication form. If the select readers of the work in the anti-slavery Era newspaper and the “Illustrated Edition” are anticipated to be more sympathetic to the anti-slavery cause, the lower-case form could suggest that the upper-case title is unwarranted. Sympathetic readers may appreciate the subtle insinuation that courtesy contributes to the support of slavery as an unlawful system. Also see the dialect forms of master.
a
X
missis a swarin at mewitness: National Era
missis a swarin at mewitness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
missis a swarin at mewitness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
missis a swarin’ at mewitness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
missis a swarin at mewitness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

In the Jewett “Illustrated Edition” (1853) Topsy’s dialect form “declar” is corrected to “declare”; “dis yer” to “this yer”; “swarin” to “swarin’ ”; and “de time” to “the time.” The Jewett “Illustrated Edition” has fewer dialect word forms and greater use of apostrophes to indicate omitted letters, to an extent that suggests systematic alteration. By comparison with the other editions, the use of typical English word forms rather than dialect may reflect the influence of Miss Ophelia’s training. Stowe or her publisher may have altered the dialect practice for the more select audience of the “Illustrated Edition” to suggest the efficacy of educational reform efforts.
at me half
X
me half de time. Iwitness: National Era
me half de time. Iwitness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
me half de time. Iwitness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
me half the time. Iwitness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
me half de time. Iwitness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

In the Jewett “Illustrated Edition” (1853) Topsy’s dialect form “declar” is corrected to “declare”; “dis yer” to “this yer”; “swarin” to “swarin’ ”; and “de time” to “the time.” The Jewett “Illustrated Edition” has fewer dialect word forms and greater use of apostrophes to indicate omitted letters, to an extent that suggests systematic alteration. By comparison with the other editions, the use of typical English word forms rather than dialect may reflect the influence of Miss Ophelia’s training. Stowe or her publisher may have altered the dialect practice for the more select audience of the “Illustrated Edition” to suggest the efficacy of educational reform efforts.
time. I spects
I’s the wickedest
X
the wickedest critter in thewitness: National Era
the wickedest critter in thewitness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
the wickedest critter in thewitness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
the wickedest critter in thewitness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
the wickedest crittur in thewitness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

Both forms, “critter” and “crittur,” are common in all published versions. The form “critter” is more frequent in the National Era and the Jewett two-volume (1852), “Million” (1852/53), and “Illustrated” (1853) editions. The spelling “crittur” predominates in the Houghton Osgood “New Edition” (1879).
in the world,” and
Topsy would cut a somerset, and come up brisk
and shining on to a higher perch, and evidently
plume herself on the distinction.
X
plume herself on the distinction.
 Miss Ophelia busied herselfwitness: National Era
plume herself on the distinction.
 Miss Ophelia busied herselfwitness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
plume herself on the distinction.
“But I ’s boun’ to go to heaven, for all that, though,” she said, one day, after an exposé of this kind.
“Why, how ’s that, Tops?” said her master, who had been listening, quite amused.
“Why, Miss Feely ’s boun’ to go, any way; so they ’ll have me thar. Laws! Miss Feely ’s so curous they won’t none of ’em know how to wait on her.”
  Miss Ophelia busied herselfwitness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
plume herself on the distinction.
 Miss Ophelia busied herselfwitness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
plume herself on the distinction.
 Miss Ophelia busied herselfwitness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

Topsy’s Plan for Heaven
This brief exchange between St. Clare and Topsy is present only in the Jewett “Million” (1852/53) edition. Because the exchange echoes other instances of faulty theological doctrine in the novel, it must be authorial even though it does not appear in the earlier National Era installment, inthe Jewett first (1852) and “Illustrated” (1853) editions, or in the Hougton Osgood “New Edition ” (1879). One infers, then, that Stowe prepared this revised text for the benefit of a particular audience, those who could afford the cheapest edition and might succumb to the seductive hope that the Christian afterlife of the servant depends on the piety of the mistress.
Though her theological doctrine is faulty, Topsy, perhaps unwittingly, critiques Ophelia’s emphasis on procedure and rules rather than love. Topsy appears to believe that Miss Ophelia is bound for a Christian heaven, but Topsy assumes also that Miss Ophelia’s heaven would include a servant like herself who is capable of performing duties to Miss Ophelia’s satisfaction. Topsy joins two previous characters in the text who appear to hold a delusive hope in a theologically doubtful plan for heaven, Mr. Shelby and the slave trader Haley. Shelby’s delusion is that he might gain heaven by his wife’s “superabundance of qualities to which he had no particular pretension” (chap. 1; Era, 5 Jun. 1851), and the slave trader Haley leavens his cruelty with humanity to gain “a better chance for comin’ in the kingdom at last” (chap. 8; Era, 17 Jul. 1851). If hers is not a case of obvious self-delusion, Cassy also later in the novel will express a hope that “it can’t be that the Lord will lay sin to our account” (chap. 34; Era, chap. 33, 12 Feb. 1852). Topsy thus joins a range of characters in the novel who hope to avoid damnation but rely on doubtful theological grounds.
The inclusion of Topsy’s Plan for Heaven in the “Million” edition suggests that Stowe thought Topsy’s sentiments uniquely suited for an audience lower on the social scale. But if these readers recognize Topsy’s self-delusion, Stowe warns that Topsy has personal responsibility for her own salvation and cannot pass that responsibility to her mistress. Topsy’s plan also echoes the doctrine of obedience that some slaveholders preached to slaves. In Stowe’s Christian doctrine, everyone has personal responsibility to achieve salvation, even a slave.
Topsy’s image of herself in heaven may comment on George Aiken’s adaptation of the novel which ended, famously, with a grand tableau “representing Eva in heaven, amid clouds and a halo of glory, welcomed by angelic choirs, and accompanied by Uncle Tom and St. Clare.” Stowe also included a revised version of this passage in an adaptation for dramatic reading, The Christian Slave, A Drama. Founded on a Portion of Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Dramatized by Harriet Beecher Stowe, Expressly for the Readings of Mrs. Mary E. Webb (Boston: Phillips, Sampson, 1855), p. 42.
Miss Ophelia busied herself very earnestly
on Sundays, teaching Topsy the catechism.
Topsy had an uncommon verbal memory, and
committed with a fluency that greatly encour-
aged her instructress.
“What good do you expect it is going to do
her?” said St. Clare.
“Why, it always has done children good.
It’s what children always have to learn, you
know,” said Miss Ophelia.
“Understand it or not,” said St. Clare.
“Oh, children never understand it at the
time, but after they are grown up it’ll come to
them.”
“Mine hasn’t come to me yet,” said St.
Clare, “though I’ll bear testimony that you put
it into me pretty thoroughly when I was a boy.”
“Ah, you were always good at learning, Au-
gustine. I used to have great hopes of you,”
said Miss Ophelia.
“Well, haven’t you now?” said St. Clare.
“I wish you were as good as you were when
you were a boy, Augustine.”
“So do I, that’s a fact,
X
a fact, cousin,” said St.witness: National Era
a fact, Cousin,” said St.witness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
a fact, cousin,” said St.witness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
a fact, cousin,” said St.witness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
a fact, cousin,” said St.witness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

The word “Cousin,” when capitalized, suggests a formal title. Because “Cousin” is not a formal title, the reader infers that the use of capitalization highlights the teasing quality of Augustine St. Clare’s banter with Miss Ophelia. In the National Era, St. Clare only uses the upper-case form once in this chapter, when he first calls Miss Ophelia so that he can exhibit Topsy for her. In the two-volume Jewett edition (1852), St. Clare in this chapter uses the upper-case form “Cousin” whenever he addresses Miss Ophelia, which suggests that he continues to engage in teasing banter.
By contrast, in all subsequent editions, the Jewett “Million” (1852/53) and “Illustrated” (1853) and the Houghton Osgood “New Edition” (1879), St. Clare always addresses Miss Ophelia with the lower-case form “cousin.” If the text of the Era serial reflects the manuscript, Stowe intended originally to open the chapter with St. Clare’s teasing of Miss Ophelia and then to assume the generic lower-case form of address, which implies greater sincerity in his later address to her. Either Stowe or a Jewett compositor chose to capitalize all instances of “Cousin” in the Jewett first edition. When the word is not capitalized, it tones down the satiric quality and instead emphasizes St. Clare’s genuine insistence that Miss Ophelia’s criticism of slavery as a system is pointless if not backed up with action.
said St. Clare.
“Well, go ahead and catechise Topsy; may be
you’ll make out something yet.”
Topsy, who had stood like a black statue
during this discussion,
X
discussion, with her hands decentlywitness: National Era
discussion, with [omit] hands decently folded witness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
discussion, with [omit] hands decently folded witness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
discussion, with [omit] hands decently folded witness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
discussion, with [omit] hands decently folded witness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

The phrase “with hands decently folded,” the form in the Jewett first (1852) and all subsequent editions, suggests greater agency on Topsy’s part. The placement of “her” in phrase “with her hands” diminishes Topsy’s agency and increases the prominence of the observer. The emphasis for this form is Miss Ophelia’s astonishment. As Stowe emphasizes Topsy’s agency, the National Era serial form is probably an authorial revision or a compositor’s error.
decently
folded, now, at a signal from Miss Ophelia,
went on:
“Our first parents, being left to the freedom
of their own will, fell from the state wherein
they were created.”
Topsy’s eyes twinkled, and she looked in-
quiringly.
“What is it, Topsy?” said Miss Ophelia.
“Please,
X
Ophelia. ¶ “Please, missis, was datwitness: National Era
Ophelia. ¶ “Please, Missis, was datwitness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
Ophelia. ¶ “Please, Missis, was datwitness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
Ophelia. ¶ “Please, missis, was datwitness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
Ophelia. ¶ “Please, Missis, was datwitness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

In the surviving manuscript pages, the National Era serial, and the Jewett “Illustrated Edition” (1853), the lower-case form “missis” is predominant. A lower-case form may indicate that the title “Missis,” like “Mas’r,” is a convention of courtesy that should be questioned. In the Jewett two-volume (1852) and “Million” editions (1852/53) and the Houghton Osgood “New Edition” (1879), the publisher or printer may have imposed—and Stowe may have accepted—the conventional forms. The choice in capitalization may reflect judgment about the audience of each publication form. If the select readers of the work in the anti-slavery Era newspaper and the “Illustrated Edition” are anticipated to be more sympathetic to the anti-slavery cause, the lower-case form could suggest that the upper-case title is unwarranted. Sympathetic readers may appreciate the subtle insinuation that courtesy contributes to the support of slavery as an unlawful system. Also see the dialect forms of master.
was dat ar
X
dat ar State Kintuck?” ¶ “Whatwitness: National Era
dat ar state Kintuck?” ¶ “Whatwitness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
dat ar state Kintuck?” ¶ “Whatwitness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
dat ar state Kintuck?” ¶ “Whatwitness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
dat ar state Kintuck?” ¶ “Whatwitness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

In the National Era serial, “State,” “North” and “South” are typically capitalized. Because Era editor Gamaliel Bailey in his editorials drew a strong distinction between Slave Power and the Free States, the serial audience may have been more sympathetic to a sharper distinction between designations for region and for state. The lower-case form in all three Jewett editions lessened sectional distinctions. The capitalized form for “State” would also have appealed to antebellum supporters of state’s rights and slavery, but Stowe would not have advocated such a distinction.
Kintuck?”
“What
X
Kintuck?” ¶ “What State, Topsy?” ¶ “Datwitness: National Era
Kintuck?” ¶ “What state, Topsy?” ¶ “Datwitness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
Kintuck?” ¶ “What state, Topsy?” ¶ “Datwitness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
Kintuck?” ¶ “What state, Topsy?” ¶ “Datwitness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
Kintuck?” ¶ “What state, Topsy?” ¶ “Datwitness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

In the National Era serial, “State,” “North” and “South” are typically capitalized. Because Era editor Gamaliel Bailey in his editorials drew a strong distinction between Slave Power and the Free States, the serial audience may have been more sympathetic to a sharper distinction between designations for region and for state. The lower-case form in all three Jewett editions lessened sectional distinctions. The capitalized form for “State” would also have appealed to antebellum supporters of state’s rights and slavery, but Stowe would not have advocated such a distinction.
Topsy?”
“Dat state dey fell out of. I used to hear
X
to hear mass’r tell howwitness: National Era
to hear Mas’r tell howwitness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
to hear Mas’r tell howwitness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
to hear mas’r tell howwitness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
to hear Mas’r tell howwitness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

In the National Era serial, the lower-case form “mass’r” predominates, which reflects the practice of lower-case “masser” in Stowe’s manuscript. The Jewett two-volume (1852) and “Million” editions (1852/53) use consistently the capitalized “Mas’r.” In the Jewett “Illustrated Edition” (1853), an uncapitalized form of the word appears, “mas’r.” The “Illustrated” edition retains the dialect apostrophe of the two-volume and the “Million” editions, but its form “mas’r,” like its form “missis,” may imply that the title of master within slavery is an unlawful convention that should not be honored with capitalization.
For the two-volume and “Million” editions, the printer George C. Rand or publisher Jewett may have imposed—and Stowe may have accepted—the conventional capitalization of this word form, perhaps so that the Jewett editions could appeal to a broader audience than the Era’s anti-slavery readers. Stowe presumably sought to return the Jewett “Illustrated Edition” word to a form closer to the manuscript and serial practice. If the more select audiences of the work in an anti-slavery newspaper and the “Illustrated” edition are expected to be more sympathetic to the anti-slavery cause, such readers may appreciate the subtle insinuation that linguistic conventions that are associated with courtesy support the perpetuation of slavery as an unlawful system. The Houghton Osgood “New Edition” (1879) follows the practice of the two-volume Jewett edition. Also see variant dialect forms of missis.
tell how we came down from Kintuck.”
St. Clare laughed.
“You’ll have to give her a meaning, or she’ll
make one,” said he. “There seems to be a
theory of emigration suggested there.”
“Oh! Augustine, be still,” said Miss Ophe-
lia; “how can I do anything if you will be
laughing?”
“Well, I won’t disturb the exercises again,
on my honor;” and St. Clare took his paper
into the parlor, and sat down, till Topsy had
finished her recitations. They were all very
well, only that now and then she would oddly
transpose some important words, and persist in
the mistake, in spite of every effort to the con-
trary; and St. Clare, after all his promises of
goodness, took a wicked pleasure in these mis-
takes, calling Topsy to him whenever he had a
mind to amuse himself, and getting her to re-
peat the offending passages, in spite of Miss
Ophelia’s remonstrances.
“How do you think I can do anything with
the child, if you will go on so, Augustine?” she
would say.
“Well, it is too bad, I won’t again; but I
do like to hear the droll little image stumble
over those big words!”
“But you confirm her in the wrong way.”
“What’s the odds? one word is as good as
another to her.”
“You wanted me to bring her up right; and
you ought to remember she is a reasonable
creature, and be careful of your influence over
her.”
“Oh, dismal! so I ought; but as Topsy her-
self says, ‘I’s so wicked!’ ”
In very much this way Topsy’s training pro-
ceeded for a year or two—Miss Ophelia wor-
rying herself from day to day with her, as a
kind of chronic plague, to whose inflictions she
became in time as accustomed as persons some-
times do to the neuralgia or sick head-ache.
St. Clare took the same kind of amusement
in the child that a man might in the tricks of
a parrot or a pointer. Topsy, whenever her
sins brought her into disgrace in other quarters,
always took refuge behind his chair, and St.
Clare, in one way or other, would make peace
for her. From him she got many a stray
picayune, which she laid out in nuts and can-
dies, and distributed with careless generosity
to all the children in the family; for Topsy, to
do her justice, was good-natured and liberal,
and only spiteful in self-defence. She is fairly
introduced into our corps de ballet, and will
figure from time to time in her turn with other
performers.
[TO BE CONTINUED.]